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Hey guys im currently not seperated but my wife and i dont love each other anymore and i stay because i love my children. My wife has 2 children from a previous marriage who have a dead beat dad and i love them too.

I want to leave and my wife wants me to leave but first i want to negotiate a settlement purely to keep the kids in a stable enviroment (own home, school, sports and friends etc) and not waste what we have fighting it out through the courts lining the lawyers pockets.

Believe it or not i want my wife to keep the house we have mortgaged (its all in my name due to her credit) until the youngest is 18 (currently 5) and then we will split it 50/50. My wife has a bad credit rating from years ago so she would most likely not be able to get a mortgage and so id just keep it in my name and pay the mortgage direct monthly ($2k). Ive talked about this with her and id also be happy to kick in another $800 per month to help pay the bills, also id take the kids for all my spare time atm i work mon to fri so weekends (inluding the step kids every few weeks) and im fine with that as i really want to spend time with them and this will be just over 50% of my current wage. This is the bone of contention because my wife says she is entitled to 70% of the house and says i should pay more. Im currently on 90K net per annum so id probably have enough money to rent a place when ive paid out on everything again i dont mind as long as the kids are happy.

So ive decided to sort this money issue out by going up to the mines as i live in WA . If i get the job ill be doubling my wage and so ill be able to buy a unit , downside is its 3 weeks away 1 week home. The one week off id take the kids not a problem and i said if i got the job id even buy her a new car prior to leaving (to provide safe transport for the kids). Until i get the job then begin saving for a unit of my own, i would like to live at my current house until i save the deposit.Id need to live there on my 1 week off which i could probably do fine but i really want my own place and to live alone, just have a few rooms extra so i can fix them up for my kids visits.

Trouble is my wife wants the extra money aswell , its seems to be me alone making sacrafices, firstly i wont see my kids everyday like she will and in the next 4 years id of spent 3 of them working away so i feel she needs to make some allowances in regards to me and my hard work to at least have a place to call my own in my week off.

Ive never paid child support and i hear so many terrible storys about the CSA that im terrified ill not get to see my kids (as she threatens this from time to time). So after my paragraphs of waffle my questions are do i seperate now on paper as in she notifies social security and CSA and yet live together until i get enough money saved to buy my own place or do we seperate legally from when i move out and i run the risk of her taking my deposit? Also can deals as decribed above be worked out with the CSA , including the 50/50 split of the house when the youngest hits 18? Last of all is there someone i can go and see …..i just dont know what to do so any help would be great!
 You need legal advice from a solicitor.

My big concern from reading what you wrote, is that if you took out a loan for a car for her & had to pay the mortgage you already have, cause it's in your name, she might end up lodging a claim through CSA and then you would have to pay that on top of the loans aand your living expenses as well. You and her could have a solicitor draw up a legally binding child support agreement. With out one you could be at risk of her changing her mind on any hand shake agreement and it all turning ugly down the track. There is some info here on binding and limited child support agreements that parents can agree to enter into.

If you don't make a written agreement together then she can lodge for an administrative assessment to be done by the CSA

There is a child support calculator which you should use to check out how much CS you would be forced to pay if she ever lodged a claim for an administrative assessment through the CSA.

An administrative assessment done by the CSA will not generally factor in, any deals you have for property split or to pay loans on her behalf ect.
I applaud you, honestly, for endeavouring to do the right thing by the kids. All I can say is "Been there, done that…..". It all sounds very gentleman like at the moment, but the chances are very good that it is going to bite you in the bum. You are talking long long term here. What if she hooks up with someone else in the future? Do you think that she should still be "entitled to 70%" of the house. (By the way, she is not entitled to 70%. There are numerous factors envolved when determining a property split. Don't be fooled) You will soon realise that the more you earn, the more she will "need".

When my ex and I seperated I followed a very similar path as you. With the final property settlement the Family Court in WA did not deem the split fair and her share got decreased quite a bit, to my surprise as well as hers. All the "extra money" that I gave monthly for the first year (on top of child care), because I thought she was struggling, I more or less got back. Not in cash but when my super got split up the magistrate said "No No" and basically gave it back to me. In the end the court awarded a 50/50 split where as she wanted a 60/40.

Get a lawyer….$2000 now could be worth $100000 in the future.
Dedicated dad said
I want to leave and my wife wants me to leave but firsti want to negotiate a settlement purely to keep the kids in a stable enviroment (own home, school, sports and friends etc) and not waste what we have fighting it out through the courts lining the lawyers pockets.
A very sensible move to negotiate a settlement BEFORE you move out.
Dedicated dad said
…. Believe it or not i wantmy wife to keep the house we have mortgaged (its all in my name due to her credit)until the youngest is 18 (currently 5) and then we will split it 50/50. My wife has a bad credit rating from years ago so she would most likely not be able to get a mortgage and so id just keep it in my name and pay the mortgage direct monthly ($2k). Ive talked about this with her and id also be happy to kick in another $800 per month to help pay the bills, also id take the kidsfor all my spare time atm i work mon to fri so weekends(inluding the step kidsevery few weeks)and im fine with that as i really want to spend time with them and this will be just over 50% of my current wage. This is the bone of contention because my wife says she is entitled to 70% of the house and says i should pay more. Im currently on 90K net per annum so id probably have enough money to rent a place when ive paid out on everything again i dont mind as long as the kids are happy.
The spilt is far from clear as it all depends on what inputs the parties had and brought to the marriage as well as contributions along the way, long term earning capacity for your wife and your own capacity longer term etc. There are many variables and one thing is for sure and that is nothing is certain until all is put on the table.
Dedicated dad said
….So ive decided to sort this money issueout bygoing up to the mines as i live in WA .
In my view a very bad move. You clearly have a major issue now. You have set an expectation of giving certain things, you have made a promise and I would probably suggest there was an acceptance. Effectively you have already entered into a verbal enforceable contract. The comment that you don't mind as long as the kids are happy is at odds with what will happen when you are away in the mines. She will undoubtedly get another partner, tensions will rise with the children and she will need more and more money while you will need to be away more and more to work longer hours to support the requirements. It is a spiral downward to no where. This is a complete catastrophic recipe for failure and you need to take a long hard rethink about your plans.

You need to sort everything out before you go anywhere. The very first thing you need to do is sort out what and how you will share the parenting and get agreement on times and handover, holidays, school and other days etc. Then look at what assets each of you will have in an equitable way. There is NO possible way that her standard of living will be anywhere near what it is now after you separate. There are many incidental expenses that come up that get absorbed in a shared home.. How is she going to rent a house with no credit rating. Where would you live when you came back each third week for a week? In the same house as her and the new boyfriend? How will you afford accommodation and set up costs at the mines as well as an apartment back near the home as well as pay the mortgage for her "free" rental and your travel. What about your super fund that will continue to accumulate with your contributions. Have you considered the day to day operational things the the children are going to have to have to operate one week in four at "your rental place".

If you think heading off to the mines and earning double will fix this situation up then I suggest you have a long hard re think… This is a recipe for great disappoint all round when things go wrong in a year or so… or when she gets CSA involved because she feels you are not providing enough. The minute she goes to Centrelink for any assistance then CSA will get involved if you have separated. You can use our calculator here to work out the multi party payment required. It all works on nights and respective incomes. You also need to look at your available net income not gross income in terms of real cash disposal available. Calculate both an ATO position and then calculate a CSA position. They are both very different calculations. There are virtually no deductible expenses under a CSA calculation. You may have significant costs of contact and you will be able to apply for those under a COA if you can't agree  because you will be in the bottom care bracket I suspect.

She is already using the children as implements to extract money and you haven't even gone anywhere.

Have you considered other options such as selling the house and both re-establishing? Buying the house off her and she sets up in a new accommodation? Selling the house to her (by way of equitable split of assets and super) and you setting up in a new accommodation? Once you move out you will loose all control, it is unclear when you have moved out if you are back in three weeks and that situation is untenable. I am not sure what the deposit is you are talking about loosing. To get a divorce you will need to be living apart for one year. If you have been separated, but reconciled for 3 months or more, then the 12 months period starts after the reconciliation.

There is no "deal" worked out with CSA. You simply pay the money you are legislated to pay by the formula set out. Along the way there are a range of options for both parties to ask for a change of assessment. The key thing is it is all by formula. CSA are not interested in who owns what and when and or any other "deals". They simply need a certain amount of money paid by a certain date otherwise there will be penalty interests applied and other collection methods applied.

One arrangement here is to make both a parenting agreement/plan which you take and have certified in court so it is relatively binding (Well better than nothing) and sort out a property settlement which has to be in written form and will be a legally binding contract that sets out who gets what and when. You cannot do the property settlement without two solicitors as both of you will require independent legal advice in relation to the property issues. The property and assets are critical to sort out due to the extended period in the future that certain things are to be executed. There could also be a wide range of taxation implications along the way and uncertainty about what the future holds as well as any major impacting changes may make the financial conditions for you totally intolerable.

Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
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do not take one step out that door without first sorting this out. my hubby's ex got the house and 2 cars (lord knows why she needed them both), and 3 years later she re-married and now rents out the there any reason why your wife cant work? this would level the playing field a bit…get a lawyer and do this properly-it doesnt have to be nasty, but it does have to be legally binding. you wont get a second chance, this will affect the rest of your life.
DD - Please take note of the warnings and advice given here. You are at the STAGE where you and ex are still civil BUT IT WILL CHANGE and will worsen as each party realises the reality of what is happening and that they need to take what they can whilst they can.

It is best to sort all financial dealing out in the open Don't do "under the table deals" or "Gentleman" agreements for anything.

You do not have a legal obligation to provide for your step children, but if you hint you will, the ex can get a court order saying so and then your child support payments will double and she will try to get 90% of the asset pool.

Have you discussed whether kids will have private education or not? If yes to private education you can be held accountable to this by the child support agency years from now even if you are on the bare bones of your bum and can't afford it. Best to put the education preferences in writing now.

Being 3 weeks away at a time from home does not allow you to be involved in the day to day lives of your children. This will however allow the ex to align them against you if she needs to get your care time below 52 nights per year to maximise child support payments.

I doubt your ex will get Centrelink benefits whilst you both continue to live in the same house. Be aware she can get rid of you very easily by making an allegation of violence against you to the police and then Child Support will just start taking $$$ from your pay packet.

You are best to agree on the care (50/50 etc…) of your biological children and then move out before the real trouble starts. Your ex will need 51% care to get parenting payment single.

Don't go up north as that will allow her to take most of what you have and what you will earn.

I suggest you keep your job, move out and give yourself time to sort everything out and adjust to the change whatever it becomes. Your kids will need time to adjust also. Don't run away like many others do thinking the money will fix everything as it wont.

"50/50 split when child turns 18" is a great idea but will not work as the ex is already telling you she wants 70%.

I also suggest you work out what the ex will get from parenting payment single and family assistance for the kids - for example she could get get 40K a year with 66% care of 4 kids. Have you taken this into consideration?

Yes get legal advice if you can afford it - otherwise spend a few days on this site.
Fairgo is very right and so are all the other people. If by now you they haven't changed your mind then let me help you by giving you some insight into my own story. When we first parted ways my ex and I verbally agreed (in good faith and very gentlemanly) on the split of our combined assets, including cash in the bank, cars, furniture, super….etc. Our boys were both into their teens and they were going to live with their mother because I worked on the mines and were away most of the time. When we started discussing Child Support things got a bit strained and we went through a couple of itterations of our seperate budgets. I too did not want the boys to 'pay" for our split and in the end made most of the adjustments to my budget in order to balance the books. I offered to service her car(s), do home maintenance when needed etc., pay the boys medical bills….and some more. We did not get the CSA involved for collection, only notified them. They were very happy for us not to involve them but sort it out amongst the two of us….. "Private arrangement" is what my case manager told me.

After the agreements (verbally, nothing on paper) I moved out and temporarily crashed at a mates place until I could find a suitable apartment. She occupied the house for another two months until the lease was up, and then found another spot not so far out of town but the same amount of rent. Our agreement at the time was that she would leave certain items at the house when she vacated it for me to pick up to move into my own apartment. First mistake……verbal agreement with her is a big No No. I walked into a near empty house. TO give you some perspective…We lived in a 400m, 5 bedroom, well furnished house with a lot of luxury items.

She left me: Oldest double bed in the house, lounge suite in the teenage retreat (do I need to say more), a vacuum cleaner (10 yrs old and used in the garage), some cutlery and crockery, a dishwasher (who needs one as most rentals have one in already), an old BBQ (she took the stainless steel one), a little (30cm) analogue tv, my golf clubs, personal documents….. And a NOTE:

"I decided to take the Prado (expedition ready with $20k of extras) and not the Discovery as discussed. I don't like the sound of the diesel and the Prado looks better in any case. As you have indicated you will be moving into an apartment. I have taken the libirty to take the ride-on mower as well becuase you won't be needing it.

The boys love their camping and as such I have taken the camping equipment with me. You are welcome to use it if ever you find the time to go out with them. On second thought, you earn enough money, you can buy your own.

By the way, my lawyer will be in contact with you soon."

What was she suppose to leave: A different newer double bed, a 45" tv (there were 2 one 45" and one 50"), my favourite leather sofa (been in the family for yonks), the Prado, Home entertainment system (she took a high end hi fi system as well), wine collection, ride-on and the camping / fishing equipment, some bunk beds for the boys when they visited me, linen

That was the start…. 2 Months later I received a revised budget from her and a letter telling me that she is struggling to make ends meet. I was paying her $3.5k a month, she was working, my son received a centrelink allowance (he was 16), she got concessions for being a single mother from the school, electrical supply company, Centrelink allowance in the form of Rent Assist…..I calculated that her Nett income was just under $80k a year (single mother with 2 teenagers) and she wanted more. (Credit to Centrelink a year later; they picked up that I was paying her far more than what is required by the CSA and she had to pay back nearly $15k). It was at this point that I realized that being a gentleman is not going to cut it. I flatly refused to pay more than what I was already paying. She got upset, needless to say, but what she did next got to me big time. All of a sudden my boys were angry at me for denying them this and denying them that…. I walked out on them and now they are struggling…. They don't want to see me…. My ex did a fine job on them indeed. She fully capatalized on the inherent selfishness of a teenager.

It took me a year to win my boys back and they now live with me. My ex sold the Prado soon after she took it, at book value (where is the image now and what about the extras?). Her new partner is fishing with my gear, uses my camping fridge and him and his mates sleep in my tent she doesn't like camping herself really) and he is using my ride-on….oh and the BBQ!!!

I had to get a lawyer in the end, cost me nearly $5k but absolutely worth it. I should have done it right from the beginning.
Totally agree - draw up some agreements between you and have them legally formalised, while everything is still civil.
I started off wanting everything to be amicable and friendly - and it did start off that way - but as the others have said, it deteriorated.  Now we're on our way to court, which I never thought would happen.
It's great that you're being so generous, but go easy, it might come back to bite you.  Think of all the possible issues, such a new partners, step-children, custody disagreements, financial problems, job loss etc etc.
I realise I've been way too generous all along and I should have gone to court months ago, before it became so urgent.
Good luck :)
I was left with a spoon....a teaspoon. Seriously :(
I would agree with getting a lawyer. It can save you alot of money in the long run. I got 2 bags of clothes and 1 box of nappies when I seperated from my ex. Pretty sh*t when at that stage I had been working hard for 10 years to have nice things. You dont want to have to start again. Its nice that you want to help your kids but look after yourself as well.
I dont get why you would even consider going to the mines, you say you are on a good wage at the moment and could easily afford to rent your own place, so it doesnt make sense.  Leaving the family home and then also abandoning your children to this single mans lifestyle would cause far greater disruption and trauma to the childrens lives that you may well find your children resent you for doing so and it could damage your relationship with them for ever.
Are you naive or just stupid Samba, stats show the majority of males that work in the mines are married.

And yes if she has been the majority carer then she could very well be entitled to 70% of the house.  Child rearing is work and Im sure you can see the results in all that work with how good the kids have turned out.
It's most common for there to be a  10% adjustment in favor of the parent that has the majority of care for the kids. With out knowing all the details then I don't think you can make a judgement call on what the house split might be, many factors are taken into account
Im going to go out on limb here and advise that you dont leave the family home until you have an arragement in concrete. I dont mean, put your wife in concrete, but you need to have some direction before you start moving things about.

Just moving out of the house will be a huge change for the children to adjust to. I would have thought that they would benefit from the care of both their parents. I dont mean stay there forever, but dont make any hasty decisions.

You owe it to the kids and yourself to proceed carefully so that the transition is as comfortable as it can possibly be in the circumstances.

I do agree that taking a job in the mines right now may not be the best interests of your family. Make the changes first, then once they are in place and everyone is motoring along and adjusting, then reconsider your work options. Of course this will only be possible if you have the ability to maintain an income while you make these changes.

Sorry Samba, I just cant support your suggestions as there are obvious contradictions. First you imply DD is "abandoning" his children for a "single mans lifestyle", then you say he should move out to remove "tension" from the home.

So which is it?  
Samba I wasnt trying to skew what you said. I merely offered an alternative opinion and pointed out that you two condratictory statements in the same post. But thankyou for clarifying your opinion, I now understand you.

I still dont agree is all……
Thanks for all the advice guys , ill consider all the advice from people who know cheers

Name removed

Last edit: by Secretary SPCA

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